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NASA and NOAA: 2017 was record-setting for warmth

NASA says 2nd-warmest year on record. NOAA says 3rd-warmest. Their methodologies differ slightly, but – by both standards – the 2017 results make the past 4 years the hottest yet recorded.

Why did passenger pigeons die out?

In the 19th century, passenger pigeons were so numerous that hunters competed to shoot as many as possible. But the last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo over 100 years ago. How did it all go so wrong?

Meteor lit up Michigan night skies

A brilliant fireball lit up skies in the U.S. state of Michigan Tuesday night and caused the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.

Supercomputer insights on mysterious black hole jets

Scientists used the Blue Waters supercomputer to show that a black hole’s relativistic jets and accretion disk both may be spinning – and precessing over time – around an axis separate from the black hole itself.

No double moon in 2018, or ever

2018 will be an excellent year to view Mars. The planet will be closer to Earth – and brighter in our sky – than since 2003. But as big as the moon? Heck no.

Drone recon finds ancient Silk Road irrigation system

Scientists used drones to map a previously-unknown, 1,600-year-old irrigation system that allowed farming in arid northwest China, one of world’s driest climates.

Is Arctic warming behind year’s crazy winter weather?

An atmospheric scientist who studies the Arctic explains why – because of global warming – the U.S. may be in for longer cold spells in the winter.

Scientists expect 1st direct black hole image soon

In 2018, scientists hope to obtain the 1st-ever direct image of a black hole’s event horizon. They’re targeting the 4-million-solar-mass black hole at the heart of our Milky Way.

Sun’s entry into zodiac signs, 2018

Astrology and astronomy are different systems. In some systems of astrology, signs of the zodiac remain fixed relative to seasonal markers, such as the equinox and solstice points on the sky’s dome.

Best photos: Snowflakes

A lot of us have been cold and “snow-verwhelmed” recently, but – although we might be getting tired of snow – we’re never tired of snowflake pics from EarthSky friends!

What was that bright flash over Russia?

A flash seen over a wide swath of Russia on January 7 at first caused fears of a U.S. air strike on North Korea. For now, the flash is unexplained.

Largest known prime number discovered

The new prime number, discovered by a collaborative computer project, is nearly one million digits larger than the previous record prime number.

Ocean plastic killing marine turtles

Hundreds of marine turtles die every year after getting tangled in trash – such as plastic ‘six pack’ holders and discarded fishing gear – in oceans and on beaches.

Scientists unearth 1st direct evidence of 1st Americans

Genetic analysis of DNA of an infant found at an Alaskan archaeological site is evidence of a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America.

How deep is your snow?

It’s really hard to measure snowfall accurately. The National Weather Service relies on more than 8,000 volunteers with rulers.

Today in science: Isaac Newton’s birthday

Born in 1643, Isaac Newton’s insights laid a foundation for our modern understanding of celestial motion, light and gravity.

See it! New Year’s supermoon

What a great way to start 2018!  Photos here from the EarthSky community of 2018’s closest and brightest supermoon. Thanks to all who submitted, and happy new year to all!

2018’s closest supermoon January 1

January has 2 full supermoons. Earth’s western hemisphere has its 1st one on the 1st full night of 2018. Eastern hemisphere? Your fullest supermoon is January 2.

Why the New Year begins on January 1

Celebrating the New Year on January 1 is a civil event, not an astronomical one. And yet nature cooperates to make January 1 a satisfying time to start anew.

Super effect on us from supermoons?

A supermoon’s extra pull of gravity creates higher-than-usual tides. But the moon’s pull doesn’t affect a human body nearly as powerfully as it does an ocean.